SBRI: Overdose detection, response and intervention

Organisations can apply for a share of £5 million inclusive of VAT. This is to deliver innovations addressing key drug related overdose priorities across two competitions.

Opportunity Details


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Feasibility strand; phase 1 R&D contracts will be up to £100,000 inclusive of VAT, for projects lasting up to 4 months, and up to £500,000 inclusive of VAT for each phase 2 project. Demonstration strand: up to £500,000 inclusive of VAT per project.

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These are Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competitions funded by the Office for Life Sciences (OLS) and the Scottish Health Industry Partnership (SHIP).

These competitions form part of the UK Addiction Healthcare Mission, UK Life Sciences Vision and Scottish Government National Mission to reduce drug related deaths and harms.

OLS and SHIP are investing up to £5 million inclusive of VAT across the two competitions. Their purpose is to develop disruptive, innovative solutions that focus on detecting, responding to, and intervening in, early acute risk of non-fatal and fatal overdose.

Competition 1 – SBRI: Overdose detection, response and intervention: feasibility

This competition is for feasibility study projects which have not yet reached prototype development. This is phase 1 of a potential 2 phase competition. The decision to proceed to phase 2 will depend on success in phase 1 and the assessment of a separate application. Your project can range in size up to total costs of £100,000 inclusive of VAT.

Competition 2 – SBRI: Overdose detection, response and intervention: demonstration

This competition is for projects with technology already at an advanced stage of development, and near ready to be deployed in a real-world environment. This is a single-phase competition. Your project can range in size up to total costs of £500,000 inclusive of VAT.

It is your responsibility to ensure you are submitting your application to the correct competition for your project. You will not be able to transfer your application and it will not be sent for assessment if it is out of scope.

Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject to a separate, possibly competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution.

Projects must:

  • aim to start by 1 August 2023
  • end 4 months after the agreed start date for competition 1, or 12 months after for competition 2
  • work in conjunction with a test bed research partner by delivering R&D services to develop a solution
  • acquire evidence which will support future product approval and use of innovations across the UK health systems (Wales, Northern Ireland, Scotland and England)

As part of your application (for both strands), you must engage with a suitable research and innovation partner to serve as a ‘test bed’. The test bed research partner is required to develop your proposed solution, gain relevant clinical and non-clinical advice and to determine the extent of required work within the test bed.

Suitable test bed research partners could include the NHS Scotland Regional Test Beds, or equivalent located in England, Wales or Northern Ireland, for example:

You can also propose any other suitable UK based alternative.


To lead a project, you can:

  • be an organisation of any size, registered in the UK, European Union (EU) and the European Economic Area (EEA)
  • work alone or with others from business, research organisations, research and technology organisations or the third sector as subcontractors

Contracts will be awarded to a single legal entity only. However, if you can justify subcontracting components of the work, you can engage specialists or advisers. This work will still be the responsibility of the main contractor.

Organisations can only lead on one application per technology identifying a suitable research partner.


The aim of this competition is to speed up the detection, response and intervention to potentially fatal overdoses using innovative digital technologies and therapeutic solutions.

Projects can focus on one or more of the following priorities:

  • discrete digital technology solutions with intuitive and simple design, focussed on service users and responders
  • simple alert or responder pathways that create effective responses to potentially fatal overdose events
  • enhance the ability to self-monitor by people who use drugs
  • improved equity of access, detection and response in this vulnerable population through connected and safe digitalised platforms
  • enhanced simple live intelligent data gathering processes, surveillance and remote monitoring
  • enhance innovative intervention therapeutics as antidotes to overdose episodes

This list is not intended to be exhaustive.

The potential innovative mechanisms and technologies you can use, include but are not limited to:

  • wearable devices or patches
  • remote monitoring
  • GPS receivers
  • smartphone apps
  • decentralised application environments
  • AI and machine learning
  • virtual reality and augmented reality
  • gamification
  • data analytics
  • therapeutics

We encourage proposals that bring together sector specialists and include a co-design and co-production element with the expertise of people with lived experience, people who use drugs, and their families.

You must:

  • provide details of certification and compliance with relevant standards, accreditation and regulatory approval for well-developed prototypes
  • detail how you will work with a test bed research partner to develop your solution and work towards product approval across UK health systems
  • set out a plan to work towards necessary approval in all the UK health systems
  • demonstrate a credible and practical route to market, so your application must include a plan to commercialise your results including plans to achieve regulatory compliance where required

To enter competition 2, you must have ready, or nearly developed, a prototype product.

If entering competition 1, you must define your goals in your application and outline your plan for phase 2. In phase 2 we will ask successful applicants from phase 1 to deliver a prototype of their solution and demonstrate it in a real-world environment.

Specific themes

Your project can focus on one or more of the following themes:

  • detection of potential overdose episodes
  • alert or response to potential overdose episodes
  • intervention therapeutics as antidotes to overdose episodes

An online briefing event will be held on Friday 10th February, 11am-1pm: click here to book a place.


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